Vivienne Westwood - A Fashion Hero

Published on 19 April 2023 at 15:43

Vivienne Westwood was a famous fashion designer most know for her provocative pieces. With her partner, Malcom McLaren, she extended the influence of the 1970s punk music movement into fashion

Her History:

In 1965 she became a self-taught designer and shortly after met and moved in with McLaren, future manager of the punk band 'The Sex Pistols'. Together they pursued a career in fashion. Initially, Westwood designed pieces based on his provocative ideas for a second hand 1950s vintage stool names 'Let it Rock'. They customised t-shirts, ripped with antiestablishment slogans and graphics and black pants featuring straps inspired by sadomasochistic costume, which flew out of the London shop and the couple became proprietors in 1971. 

Image- Vivienne Westwood (Google)

Click the icon to check out the Vivienne Westwood's instagram! 

Their fashion image enraged the right-wing press. However, soon after their first commercial ready-to-wear collection "Pirates" was released they ended their personal relationship but remained professional partners for 5 years. But, Westwood established her own identity as a leading independent fashion designer!

Westwood's first collection as an independent women:

Vivienne marked a radical change in direction in the next few years of this era. Street style and youth culture played a major role in her work and Westwood looked into traditional Savile Row tailoring techniques, British fabrics and 17th/18th century art for inspiration. 

Her first collection named "Savage" flat cutting from Japan, was inspired by Picasso and Matisse, which examines rapport between clothes and the body, with slashed sleeves and contrast linings. 


"In taking from other cultures I'm just doing what Picasso did in his painting Demoiselles d'Avignon" - Vivienne Westwood

Vintage Vivienne Westwood Savages collection

Vintage Vivienne Westwood 'Savages' collection

How Westwood has inspired me?

Westwood's style was not solely defined by exhibitionism, but she was an activist. She always stood for justice and fairness and was working on a plan to save the world! The Vivienne Foundation a non profit company, founded by the legend herself, her sons and her granddaughter will officially launch in 2023 to honour Vivienne's legacy, continue her designs and activism. The foundations goal is to raise awareness and create change working with NGO's. Built up in 4 factors; climate change, to stop wars, to defend human rights and protest capitalism. This exists to create a better world and implement Vivienne's plans. Personally, this is really inspiring to me to use her fashion collections more than just clothing but to promote and campaign for a better world. 


Above is a visual representation of my personal love for Vivienne Westwood!


"Westwood reveals abusive relationship!"

Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren


Another evident reason as to how Vivienne Westwood is such a strong inspirational women is the suffering of abuse from her partner at the time, Malcolm McLaren:( She revealed their relationship involved emotional and physical abuse. Westwood writes in her memoir "I used to hit Malcolm. One day he hit me back… He had this thing where he couldn't leave the flat until he made me cry. He wanted to feel bad or something - he was trying to draw blood. It was simpler to give in; to give way to the tears so he would stop. Real tears have never come back for me. I haven't cried properly since". Fortunately, it is evident her successful fashion career just became stronger and stronger!

To summarise she is truly one of my major fashionista inspirations! There is no one like her. She will be missed very much. 

These three images are all part of Vivienne Westwood's SS23 campaign. 

Vivienne Weswood - Official Instagram





Vivienne Westwood (1941 - 2022) 81 years of age

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